It wasn’t long ago when in Texas, from the stage of ‘Howdy Modi’, the Indian PM appealed to Indian Americans to vote for a ‘Trump Sarkar’ and welcomed Trump in a huge Motera Stadium in Ahmedabad.
Nations don’t have permanent friends. Nor permanent enemies. They only have permanent interests.
“My dream is that in 2020 the two closest nations in the world will be India and the United States.” – Joe Biden
Historically democrats have been friendly with India and Biden is a Democrat. With his 47 years of experience and an eight-year term as the Vice President, Biden understands the global diplomatic, economic and military challenges.
5 Big ways Joe Biden can play vital role for boosting Indian Economy:
1) Less Geopolitical Tensions with China
India has border disputes with China. China claims Arunchal Pradesh and large chunks of India’s land in Ladakh. China-India military standoff is likely to continue. India needs to build its military capability to counter the China threat.
Defense Trade and Technology Initiative (DTTI) formed in 2012 during Obama-Biden administration to enhance cooperation between the US-India armed forces will get a boost under Biden. US has already agreed to provide satellite imagery that will be of immediate military benefit at the India-China LAC. Twentieth century was America’s century. The US was the only Hyper Power. Will twenty-first century be China’s century? US is acutely aware of that possibility and needs India’s support to avert it.
“This [Xi Jinping] is a guy who is a thug,” – Joe Biden
2) Global Supply Chain (GSC)
China uses its economic power for shocking economic force & Covid 19 pandemic disrupted the Global Supply Chain (GSC) forcing many countries to set up manufacturing. The disruption offers a good opportunity to India to offer an alternative, secure and reliable GSC. The US wants a GSC which is not China centric. It has been talking to Australia, New Zealand, Japan, India, and South Korea on supply chains. But India with its young populace, skilled workforce, and relatively low labor costs is better placed to offer the alternative GSC.
“If that [India-US come close] occurs, world will be safer.” – Joe Biden
3) GDP Superpower
Expected GDP. By 2050:
1) China ($58.499 trillion)
2) India ($44.128 trillion)
3) United States ($34.102 trillion)
US GDP will be less than sixty percent of China’s. But US-India combined GDP will be thirty-four percent higher than China’s. If European Union, Indonesia, Japan, and United Kingdom join US-India, then their combined GDP ($126.68 trillion) will be more than double that of China. It is in the interest of both India and the US to ally, and to get other nations to ally, to tackle China’s egregious economic coercion.
“strengthening and deepening the relationship with India is going to be a very high priority.” – Anthony Blinken, Biden’s Secretary of State nominee.
4) Ease of H1B Visa:
The H-1B visa is a work permit that allows foreign workers to go to the United States and work for American companies. The foreigner must specifically work in a field that requires specialised knowledge, for which the employer cannot find a US-based worker. In a note Trump said:
"As we speak, we're finalising the H-1B regulation so that no American workers be replaced ever again. H-1B should be used for top highly paid talent to create American jobs, not as inexpensive labour programmes and destroy American job," - Trump
Many of us wouldn't know it but Indian students contributed $7.6 billion to US economy last year but in June 23 Trump suspended the H-1B visas along with other types of foreign work visas until the end of 2020 to protect American workers in a crucial election year. He gave this order to ensure that the federal government lives by a very simple rule, higher American.
Now, US President-elect Joe Biden plans to increase the number of high-skilled visas, including the H-1B, and eliminate the limit on employment-based visas by country, both of which are expected to benefit tens of thousands of Indian professionals impacted by some immigration policies of the outgoing Trump administration.
5) Lessor US-India trade disputes
India and US share a very interesting trade connection. India exports more goods to the US than we import from them. It's quite good for India having trade surplus but Trump didn't like it and he believes that this gap must be reduced. So, On March 4, he terminated the preferential trade status for India under Generalized System of Preference (GSP). He determined that India has not assured the US that it will provide "equitable and reasonable access to its markets.". India was the largest beneficiary of the programme.
India was getting benefits to the tune of $6 bn Under the GSP programme, as nearly 2,000 products including auto components and textile materials can enter the US duty-free. Once India kicked out of this program its export started becoming costly. In retaliation, India increased import duties for US on goods like almond, pulses, and apples. This further soured relations.
The big problem was, There are no winners from today’s decision. It would cost American companies $300 million in additional annual tariffs. American importers will pay more, while some American exporters will continue to face current market access barriers in India and others, including farmers, are very likely to be subject to new retaliatory tariffs.
Many experts believe that under Biden administration, this trade relation could be better as he is a seasoned politician as compared to Trump as transactional type politician.
6) Possible ease with Iranian Sanctions
During Trump's tenure, India was unable to buy oil from Iran (10 % of India’s supply) due to sanctions imposed by the US. Any country or company importing crude oil from Iran will now invite penalties from the US.
Iran's economy is largely dependent on its oil exports; with the sanctions in place, the country is cut off from its main source of revenue. Further, companies such as Airbus and Boeing had agreed deals with Iran to sell 100 and 80 aircrafts respectively after the JCPOA was signed in 2015. These deals now stand void at a loss of billions of dollars.
The immediate impact of the sanctions on India was that it could no longer use US dollars for transactions with Iran. Investment by Indian companies in Iran's oil and gas development projects and pipeline projects,
India being the second largest importer of crude oil from Iran, the relation between Iran-India is of vital importance for India strategically because of Iran's Chabahar port, which plays a fundamental role in India's trade connectivity with Afghanistan, Central Asia, Eurasia and Europe.
If Biden works on these sanctions for overall benefit of all the countries then India can easily fulfill it's oil requirement from Iran.
Many Indians believe that another term for Donald Trump would have been better for India as many see him as a close friend of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, but Indians should not worry much over Biden's election as the new president of the US is likely to be a 'Good News' for India.
Research Analyst (SEBI Regd.)
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